Jade industry takes off at the foot of Mount Kinabalu

Precious: Dr Joachim taking a closer look at a jade stone at Kampung Nalamud in Ranau.

KOTA KINABALU: Nestled amidst lush rainforests, Ranau has another “gem”, literally, besides the splendour of Mount Kinabalu.

Villagers in Ranau, which is about 100km from here, would pick stones known as nephrite, which are generally referred to as jade, from the Mokodou River.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam said the development of the jade sector to boost handicraft and tourism on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu would help spur the local economy.

The government, he said, would support handicraft industries with growth potential.

Speaking at the launch of the Kinabalu Jade Handicraft and Kinabalu Jade Eco Tourism Association at Kampung Nalumad in Ranau yesterday, he said these cottage industries would help villages in the Kundasang area.

Dr Joachim lauded the idea of promoting jade eco-tourism as a product of the village.

He said association president Jirus Miun had informed him that jade was readily available within their locality.

However, Dr Joachim advised those venturing into the jade sector to do it the right way.

He advised them to work with the district office and outline their activities.

Natural resources, he said, came under the licensing and control of the state government.

As such, he said it was important for the association to work closely with the district office.

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